In a recent notice the SEC warned of “Prime Bank Notes” being promoted as high yield bank alternatives are not real. These offerings prey upon investors desiring a higher rate of return than is available through conventional channels. Along with the higher interest the “prime” notes also testify to their safety and lack of market risk, when in fact prime notes are nothing more than a scam.
Often the answer for why these notes offer such high interest is that they are being used to buy international notes known as debentures or often as short term money for bridge financing. Whatever their behind the scenes reason for their use is, they are still completely fraudulent.
The common string that binds prime notes together is:
Excessive Guaranteed Returns: the pitch is high interest, far higher than available through any conventional source. Unrealistic promises are the hallmark of Prime notes.
Fictitious Financial Instrument: “Prime” sounds so honest, so financial when in reality they are used only to sucker in the investor. Often times the crooks will use the name of a well-known financial institution to increase the investors’ confidence. Often “Prime” notes are described as letters of credit, debentures, medium term bank notes, and offshore trading paper.
Extreme Secrecy is their trademark. You are cautioned to never tell anyone about this offer because there is not enough to go around. This program is only for a selected few investors, friends of friends. It is sold to the investor as a well-kept industry secret and your banker in order to keep the secret would deny any knowledge of such an investment.
Exclusive Opportunity: Often the pitch is only for special investors, “invitation” only. The hook is that the small investor gets in on the big secret and gets returns like the big boys.
Claims of Complexity: Most people would never be able to fully understand how a “Prime” note actually works and so the investor needs to trust and “enjoy” the high interest rate. Unless you are a true expert in this field it is impossible to understand the inner workings.
Prime notes are the work of fraudsters, be careful and remember that anything too good to be true is just that, too good to be true.
Here is a link to the SEC website for more information about prime notes: http://www.sec.gov/divisions/enforce/primebank.shtml